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Sebastian Koenig, freelance member of the Blender Network, wants to share his latest professional experience with us. This is a great example of how the Blender Network facilitates the connection between clients and artists and between artists and developers.
"Recently I was contacted by Francesco Siddi (network manager), who forwarded me a request by Logan Gilpin, who needed a special tracking service. Basically he needed equirectangular stabilization. He is taking footage with several cameras mounted on a quadrocopter which he then stitches together with an app called PTGui. The resulting 10K footage is crisp and clear, however quite shaky, due to movements and vibrations of the copter. He wanted to stabilize it so that he could map the stable footage onto a sphere, put a virtual camera inside of it so that he could have control over the viewing angle and focus of the entire sequence.
Since he didn't find any other solution he wanted to do it in Blender, but needed support with that. So I tried several things. Tracking was not an issue at all. Getting a correct equirectangular stabilization was a bit more tricky though. I tried to use a setup of different constraints to stabilize it, but I was missing an important thing, which is the correct mapping of the equirectangular coordinates. So I decided to reach out for help myself. I asked Dalai Felinto, who is also part of the Blender Network and who has worked a lot with equirectangular mappings and used the Blender Game Engine for dome projections. And he was pretty confident that he could solve the problem. But he said that it might be the easiest to write an add-on for that. Just 1 day later he presented me a great solution that works great and is easy to use. Thanks to the flexible Interface of Blender it was easy to implement the functions into the UI of the Tracking Module of Blender.
So it works like this: Put your footage into the Movie Clip Editor and track 2 points on the horizon. Mark the points as Focus and Target. Then click the button to create the stabilized camera. If you open the rendered viewport now you can see the stabilized footage. Just render out the sequence and you can then use it as a stabilized background in another scene or for whatever you like. So thanks to the Blender Network and Dalai's help I could prepare a tutorial and workflow guideline for the client so that he can now finish is project with Blender."
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